The Best of Tokyo’s Cherry Blossom Festivals

Lily Crossley-Baxter

Cherry blossom in Japan is worth celebrating and there’s nothing like a festival atmosphere to liven up your sakura viewing!

tokyo cherry blossom festivals
Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter used under CC

There are plenty of places to admire the pink blossoms of spring in Tokyo, but some have the added bonus of a festival which means food, drink and lots of people. While summer is the festival season in Japan, these are the beginning of the festivities for the year and always have a great atmosphere. It’s the perfect opportunity to try some food from the yatai—food stalls selling all the favorites like okonomiyaki, choco-banana, takoyaki and a whole assortment of meat-on-sticks.

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Tokyo cherry blossom festivals tend to run for the two weeks around mid-bloom, but the dates depend on weekends too. They will be quieter during the week and on weekends will be teeming, but this is all part of the fun. The blossom dates are not set in stone, so some dates may not coincide exactly, so be sure to check closer to the time.

Miura Kaigan  |  February 5th – March 4th

tokyo cherry blossoms festivals
Photo by torne used under CC

An early blooming cherry blossom, the Kawazu is the most common tree on the coast of Kanagawa and is in full bloom by the end of February. On the road from Miura-Kaigan to Komatsugaike Park there are over 1,000 trees and their intensely pink blossoms will be illuminated at night between 5pm and 9pm.

Event listing:

Sumida Park  |  March 20th – April 8th

tokyo cherry blossoms festivals
Photo by Yoshikazu Takada used under CC

An excellent place for a hanami party, Sumida Park has over 600 cherry trees between Azumabashi Bridge and Sakurabashi Bridge. The residents of Tokyo have been enjoying the blossoms here for hundreds of years, so you can valiantly carry on the traditions in their honor. There are boat rides available if you want to add another dimension to your blossom viewing as there are trees cover on sides of the river.

Event listing:

Ueno Park  |  March 21st – April 8th

Ueno Park is one of the busiest cherry blossom festivals, with a boating lake, plenty of food stalls and of course, lots of cherry trees. There are more than 800 to admire and the floors will be covered with blue tarps for days in advance, so expect crowds and lots of fun. You can go boating on the lake either in swans or traditional row boats and stroll beneath the blossoms while snacking on festival food to your heart’s content.

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Event listing

Nakameguro  |  March 24th – April 10th

tokyo cherry blossoms festivals
Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter used under CC

One of the most famous spots for hanami in Tokyo, Nakameguro is the canalside walk that will fill you with a newfound love for cherry blossom, no matter how much you’ve seen before. Stalls and cafes line both sides of the river serving traditional snacks and drinks and you’ll see plenty of pink champagne too, which is the favorite tipple of the season. This is a bit of a couples spot, so if you’re looking for a romantic evening stroll, this is the perfect one to pick. Although the trees are beautiful during the day, they are particularly stunning in early evening as the sun sets and they are illuminated.

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Event listing

Kitanomaru Park, Chiyoda  |  March 26th  – April 8th

tokyo cherry blossoms festivals
Photo by Yoshikazu TAKADA used under CC

Mixing history with beauty, you can take a rowboat out and explore the moat of the ancient Edo Castle beneath the blossoms. There are around 250 Somei Yoshino trees forming a 700 m tunnel you can stroll through and it is an impressive contrast to the office towers in the background. The boats are open late during the festival and there will be food stalls and snacks available too. The trees will also be illuminated in the evening.

Event listing

Last update: March 8, 2018

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